DPP Home Profiles Elias Wessel: Euro Pop

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Elias Wessel: Euro Pop

Elias Wessel’s delicately constructed imagery finds a home in the New York world of fine-art fashion

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Glitter And Glamour
Graffiti, drawing and painting were the first mediums to inspire Wessel to work in the visual arts. Always precocious, an initial chance meeting with artist Sigmar Polke had him drawing and painting by the time he was 16, and he was already exhibiting by the time he was 19. Also at that point, a literal love affair developed his interest in photography.

“During that time, my best friend, who I had a crush on, moved to London. Our only source of communication was through mail. I wanted my letters to look and make her feel special on top of what I wrote to her. I created my own envelopes by cutting out my favorite pictures from hundreds of magazines. I collected thousands of tear sheets and still remember vividly pictures by David LaChapelle, Guy Bourdin, Jeff Koons and others who caught my breath. Since then, I’ve always wanted to be able to re-create these wonderful feelings that those pictures gave me and started to take photographs of everything I loved. Nothing really changed since then.”

Wessel says he learned technique and lighting by assisting and through shooting and working both in the studio and in the field, and while apprenticing in Europe, he explored every area of a photo production, from advertising agencies and design bureaus to various roles in production and studio management. He thanks all of these experiences for his empathy in understanding the needs of everyone involved in a campaign, and he’s able to foresee expectations, needs and fears from the points of view of all participating sides. He also spent a great deal of time studying more than photography. With a multifaceted history in language, literature, art and visual communications, Wessel refers to himself not only as a photographer, but also as a visual artist.

He says his main goal as a photographer is to be able to mix fine art and fashion photography seamlessly, and thanks to his concentration on composing a good image as a whole rather than as a vessel for the subject, clothes or jewelry, he has found a significant and loyal client base.

“I don’t want to limit myself just to photography,” he says. “Before and during my studies, I did so many things besides photography. Graffiti, painting, illustration, animation, short movies, posters, magazines.... I love to cooperate with other artists on projects, and who knows if I will not mix medias like paintings and photographs in a future project. Foremost, I want to separate myself from the fact that today every second person has the capacity to make images look decent. Photography, to me, doesn’t just mean to ‘push the button.’ It is your intuition, your creativity, your emotions, your artistic ideas, your style, your inspiration—in short, your personality and how you communicate visually.

“Everyone can make a picture of someone that works somehow by releasing the camera 350 times,” Wessel adds. “Then they look at the pictures and release another 200 times to have some ‘alternatives.’ For me, ideally, the whole shoot already happens in my head days before the actual shoot. This finally allows me to focus on the person I take the picture of and form the feel of the photograph.”


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